Peace is More…
By Rev. Trish Hall
“One World, One Love, One Peace” – Global Heart of Peace Initiative’s celebration of the United Nations’ World Day of Peace on September 21, 2022
Peace is more than freedom from disturbance or the absence of war. It is a commitment to assuring the well-being of all.
Peace is more than a state of tranquility. Tranquility is a feeling – a sense of calm and quiet that is by its nature transient, ephemeral. It may be experienced in meditation or sitting under a starry sky, listening to the crickets. The aura of tranquility is often associated with a calm environment, a temporary (perhaps fleeting) sense that you don’t have a care in the world.
Though the critical components of peace do include affects such as the absence of war and freedom from disturbances, they are so much more. They include mutual respect, shared values, a commitment to put peace ahead of prejudice and rivalries. True peace will only arise when these components are recognized and the underlying obstacles to peace are addressed and resolved.
Sustainable peace is not passive. It is the work of a lifetime – the conscious commitment to assure that the components of peace are conscientiously strengthened and preserved. Fears and insecurities can cause otherwise stable individuals to waiver. Even a well-developed sense of self can be challenged by the numerous forms of inequity that are presently evident. Those inequities must be eliminated. Diligent reassurances of progress are critical to establishing lasting peace.
For peace to be sustainable it must be based on mutual respect – the recognition of the divinity of all creation demonstrated in all relationships. It goes beyond surface level interactions to supporting one another in developing human dignity – soul-level self-respect rather than ego-based pride. Such dignity is the right of every person to be valued and respected for their own sake, to be treated ethically and to experience equity in all areas of life. This is an inherent, inalienable right. This is a keystone component of enduring peace.
Open communication is essential so that common ground and shared values can be identified and used as the foundation on which to build trust. Fully embracing “oneness,” and accepting the responsibilities that come with that embrace, make sustainable peace possible.
Over 40 years ago the United National General Assembly established the International Day of Peace. In 2001 they unanimously clarified the day as being dedicated to strengthening the ideals of peace among all nations and peoples of the earth.
It is a common practice in the US is to declare days in recognition of this or that. For years I have found that confusing when it comes to something like peace. The declaration of twenty-four hours dedicated to something such as cease-fire and non-violence, begs the question: Is it then okay to be horrid and hateful during the other 8,736 hours in a year? I know we must start somewhere, and one day is better than no days. I feel we need to be clear about our intention: we want more! We are called to do everything within our power to bring about its fulfillment. We need to be firm and not accept anything less than its fulfillment lest we give in and tolerate something less than real peace. We must be willing to go full out for all peoples – all creation – to experience the components of peace.
This year, the United Nations is acknowledging that achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms. It requires the building of societies where all members regardless of race can flourish.
It has long been a stand within Centers for Spiritual Living that we are called to create a world that works for all. This involves creating a world in which there is equity, in which all people are treated equally, regardless of their race, gender, orientation, age, ability or other unique attributes. We envision all people, all beings, and all life as expressions of God.
Our Global Vision doesn’t just suggest that we should be nice to one another. It clearly states that we envision “A World That Works for Everyone”- a world of peace and harmony, enfranchisement and justice – and that this is our work to do. It doesn’t suggest that mediocre is okay. It calls us to commit to it and lean into its fulfillment!
As Secretary-General António Guterres has said: “Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments …” In the presence of such forces, collective peace is not experienced.
We each have a role to play in fostering peace. Tackling racism and other demonstrations of prejudice are crucial and requires our collective action.
In furtherance of the United Nations dedication to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples, the Secretary went on to say, “We are called to dismantle the structures that entrench racism in our midst. We can support movements for equality and human rights everywhere. We can speak out against hate speech – both offline and online. We can promote anti-racism through education and reparatory justice.”
On September 21, 2016 – United Nations International Day of Peace – Centers for Spiritual Living formally recognized the Collective Meditation for Peace Initiative as an integral and essential element of our organization. Its driving purpose is to raise the consciousness of peace around the world.
So, what are we doing about it?
The Collective Meditation for Peace Initiative coordinates the weekly Heart of Peace Meditations on Facebook every Monday afternoon at 1:00 PM MT. Team members are “vision led” to provide an array of meditation experiences throughout the year.
The Heart of Peace team invites everyone to take a deep dive into their spiritual practices, committing to daily peace prayers in total confidence that we do have the power to change the world using Spiritual Mind Treatment – Peace shall prevail! The team is fostering the emergence of a world in which compassion and empathy overcome suspicion and hatred. A world that we can truly be proud of.
Our next event “One World, One Lover, One Peace” is on United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21st the 2022 on Facebook.
To achieve enduring Peace we collaborate, connect and take actions collectively. The Heart of Peace team is always seeking ways in which it can engage people … to attract spiritual activists with a passion for peace. We began by becoming clear observers, honest evaluators and dedicated doers. We have discerned the components of peace and identified actions that synergistically bring about experiences of peace. In collaboration with other organizations, we produce events and promote those of other peace organizations and our communities such as the Global Chain Reaction for Peace created by the Center for Spiritual Living Geneva. This past year we have featured the World Healing Peace Meditation, provided a Pause for Peace at the Centers for Spiritual Living 2022 Convention, produced a daily meditation guide posted on Facebook every day of the Season of Peace and Nonviolence, hosted World Labyrinth Day and the United Nations International Day of Peace.
Individually and collectively the Heart of Peace team members remain keenly alert to ways in which to remove obstacles to the free flow of peace around the world. Acknowledging that a lack of information and education about other cultures and traditions, has been one of the primary forces obstructing universal peace, team members have engaged with other organizations to break such barriers.
And, there are more ways in which Centers for Spiritual Living is bringing forth world peace …
Global Services Committee, in fulfillment of our Global Vision of “… a world in which we live and grow as One Global Family that respects and honors the interconnectedness of all life; a world where this kinship with all life prospers and connects through the guidance of spiritual wisdom and experience” works diligently worldwide connecting and nurturing global relationships. These connections make it possible for people to learn about other cultures and make personal connections – essential components of world peace.
Our Diversity Equity Inclusion Committee is dedicated to working toward a world that embraces and celebrates diversity and eliminates all expressions of prejudice in alignment with the United Nations 2022 theme of “End Racism. Build Peace.”
We envision a world that works for everyone and for all creation, and are committed to doing our part to make peace magnificently ordinary rather than something exceptional to be achieved.
United Nations International Day of Peace 2022 Theme: “End Racism. Build Peace.”
Look for Peace Day activities in your own community and around the world: *Minute of silence at 12 noon (all time zones) *Peace education events *Intercultural and interfaith dialogues *Workshops on the UN Peace Day theme *Meditation and prayer *Planting peace poles *Community gatherings *Vigils *Concerts and festivals